Friday, 20 January 2012

Baked Boneless Pork Loin Chops


I have a Costco membership because of printer ink.  True story.  I use a lot of printer ink and, although I try hard to support local businesses, I can’t afford not to buy my ink at Costco.  A double package of printer ink at Costco costs the same or less than a single ink package from the local stationer. 

There is no Costco in our town (The nearest one is about 30 kilometers away) so I try to limit our trips there to three or four a year.  When I go, I do a thorough shop, looking for bulk items I can stock up on until my next visit.

Not everything at Costco is a bargain.  I take a price list with me and shop carefully, but some items are consistently less expensive there than they are at our local stores.  I buy one kilo bags of active dry yeast at Costco, I buy Parmesan cheese, and I buy boneless pork loins; usually two of them.

Even at Costco a boneless pork loin is more expensive than a bone-in pork shoulder on sale locally, but I buy them anyway.  There’s virtually no waste from a boneless pork loin.  Every single ounce is useable.  I usually cut one loin into chops and stir fry meat and the other into two or three small roasts.  It’s nice to have these cuts on hand when I’m looking to make a simple meal.

Boneless pork loin chops do present a cooking challenge.  They’re so lean that, if not cooked carefully, they can be quite dry.  The slow cooker is a moist cooking environment and works very well for this lean meat (my husband is particularly fond of boneless pork loin slow cooked with sauerkraut) but you know those days when you forget to take something out for supper?  Or time gets away from you and all of a sudden it’s too late to go to the store?  Or those days when you get unexpected company?  On those days I want to have something on hand that I can thaw in the microwave and easily cook in the oven.  You can do that with boneless pork loin chops, if you brown them and then bake them in sauce.

Tonight I baked our pork chops in applesauce.  I wish I could post some better pictures of them but it was very dark here today.  There was so little natural light that I had to shoot with a flash.  I really don't like the way the photos turned out.  The chops were delicious but the pictures don't do them justice.

Don't limit yourself to applesauce.  I’ve also cooked boneless pork loin chops in the oven with gravy, mushroom sauce, cheese sauce, and even creamed corn.  I'm providing you with a technique, not a recipe, so just use whatever you have on hand as long as it appeals to you.

To make my pork chops, I used:
  • Two boneless, pork loin chops, approximately 1-1/2 inches thick
  • Homemade applesauce (Mine is dark in colour because I cook the apples with the skin on, purée them, and then cook the purée down like apple butter.)
  • Canola oil
  • Salt and pepper

Use a skillet with a tight fitting lid.  If the handle of the skillet is not ovenproof, wrap it in foil.  Preheat your oven to 350˚F.

Get the skillet hot enough to sear the meat, then add a small amount of Canola oil; just enough to keep the meat from sticking.  Brown the pork on both sides.

Once the pork is browned, cover the top of each chop with a generous amount of sauce.

Put the lid on the pan and bake the chops in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes.

Serve the chops piping hot.  If you can, it's nice to serve these with a little extra sauce or gravy on the side.  Leftovers can be sliced thinly, reheated in the sauce, and then served over rice.

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